Leonardo Ridolfi

The days they worked, the incomes they earned: new perspectives on work patterns and annual earnings in the French construction sector (1320-1850)

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Keywords: France, pre-industrial labour markets, real wages, working year, construction history

This paper presents a new series of the days worked per year in the French construction sector from 1320 to 1550 and with gaps until up 1850. The results suggest that the common assumption used in the literature of a fixed working year is out of touch with historical evidence. Adjusting real annual wage income in France to account for changes in days worked per year leads to a downward revision of the medieval «Golden Age of Labour» that followed the Black Death by about 20-30% compared with previous estimates based on 250 days of work.

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